Reviewing My Food Log....18 Months of Consistency
Wow. I was reviewing my food log today, so I could see what I was eating, how many calories I was consuming, and what my macros looked like last year when I was cutting for my first comp, and OMG....I have been consistently been eating 6-8 nutrient dense, low calorie, fuel for lifting meals every day for 18 months. My menu has consisted of chicken, tuna, tilapia, whey protein, casein protein, egg whites, plain greek yogurt, oatmeal, wheat bran, sweet potatoes, and veggies for a year and a half. I have had my weekly cheat meal or item as scheduled, religiously, and I have not missed the gym unless it was scheduled. Wow. This lifestyle just becomes a habit before you even know it. It gets easy in a quick hurry, and you forget how "hard" it ever was. If you're not careful, you will prefer this way of eating, and thi s routine way of healthy living.
There has been bumps along the road, no doubt. I wish I would have done some things differently, for sure, but I have learned SO much about myself and my body over the course of this past year and a half. I know I used to "cheat on myself" when I first started, so I wonder how accurate my diary really was then. It is hard to compare now to then, because now I log EVERYTHING that goes into mymouth, no matter what. Then, I would leave the painful things off from time to time. If I was ashamed to have eaten it, I would pretend like it didn't happen. It makes me wonder if I am consuming the same amount of calories this season as last, even though I am logging 300-500 more calories daily this season. Last season, I only took in 90 carbs a day, on average. This season, I am closer to 150. The difference is that I didn't practice nutrient timing because I wasn't aware of the benefits of it. I didn't have simple carbs post workout. I didn't have a casein shake before bed. I didn't have carbs past 3 pm. The result....I lost a ton of muscle. I was a skeleton by the time I hit the stage. I am hoping that with the addition of simple carbs post workout, my muscles will recover faster, my lift sessions will stay intense, and I won't lose as much mucscle or strength. I am also hoping the bedtime casein shake will help preserve my hard earned muscle as well. I may or may not cut slower this season as a result of these additions to my diet, but I don't care either way because I'm not willing to lose all that muscle again. I would cancel my show first. Last year, I relied a lot more on whey protein, and a lot less on whole foods. I know I had horrible carb and sugar cravings all of last season, and I would make protein shakes to curb these cravings. This year, I don't have the cravings nearly as badly, and if I do, my coping skills are much stronger. I used to eat sugar free jello when I craved sugar, and I can see by my log that whole grain, slow burning complex carbs are a trigger food for sugar cravings because I would have sugar free jello after breakfast sometimes. Breakfast, last season, consisted of egg whites and oatmeal. I started my day off with carbs, right after I finished fasted cardio. This season, I don't have any carbs except through veggies, until 2 pm. I also ate sugar free jello last year late at night. This year, I eat those simple carbs post workout, and don't crave night time carbs anymore. Life is SO MUCH EASIER this season.
What is the moral of this story? Log your food every single day. Log every single thing you put in your mouth. Log honestly. You are only cheating yourself. Don't waste your time logging anything, if you aren't going to log everything. Reviewing your diary can be so empowering and educational for you, if you keep accuate and consistent records. I can see trends, patterns, problems and solutions simply by looking back over my log and running repots on the data within. Because of MFP, no one can tell me they know my body better than me; no doctors, personal trainers, nutritionists, or gym rat buddies. I know myself VERY well, and can reach my goals faster, as a result. :-) Yay for 18 months of consistent, patient, reliable logging. Go me!